Though the first convention began in 1895, the sermons were delivered to the tens of thousands of church members who attended in a very unique manner. Until 1936, messages of the main speaker were repeated in relay by designated people standing in between the participants of the convention. It was a time consuming process for the message from the front to pass through thousands of participants to reach the back of the audience. In 1936, a loud speaker and mike (microphone) set was brought to Maramon from USA by the famous missionary Rev. Dr. E. Stanley Jones. It was donated by one of the Christian Churches in USA. He was a well wisher of the Mar Thoma Church and encouraged the missionary zeal of the Church.
Read more and see more rare photos at 1921 -1970: World renowned missionary Dr. E. Stanley Jones at Maramon Convention ( See Rare Photos) Hear a sermon by Dr. E. Stanley Jones – Click Here (The sermon is 26 min. — or download the mp3 (11.8 MB).) The sermon title is, “The Gift of the Holy Spirit: The Birthright of All Christians.” The sermon was preached at a U.S. Ashram in August 1960. (This sermon is included in the 2008 book, Living Upon the Way: Selected Sermons of E. Stanley Jones on Self-Surrender and Conversion.) This audio clip is from www.methodistthinker.com
The use of tobacco and paan was a way of life in Kerala during the first half of the 20th Century. It was an essential item at social events such as marriages and other family gatherings. Tobacco and paan was easily available through shops all over Kerala. It was a common sight to have people attend the Maramon Convention meetings with beedi and murukkan in their pockets.
Through his messages, Dr. Stanley Jones urged people to refrain from the use of tobacco products. During one meeting, he asked the convention participants to bury their tobacco (which they were carrying) in the sand on the Pandal floor. In another meeting, he collected all the tobacco products from the people and burnt it near the Pandal in front of everyone. It is only after much persuasion that the people stop using it and today it is not permitted at the Maramon Convention pandal.
Dr. Eli Stanley Jones was born in Baltimore, Maryland, USA on 3rd Jan 1884. He was a faculty at Asbury College, Kentucky, USA when he was called to missionary service in India in 1907 under the Board of Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
He was one of the main speakers of the Maramon Convention from 1921-1970. His messages combined evangelistic challenges with social concerns.
“For more than half a century Dr E Stanley Jones proclaimed the Gospel of Christ and applied it to people’s personal, social, national, and international problems. He moved among statesmen and among leaders without portfolios as counselor, friend and worker for peace and goodwill.
Dr Jones became a friend of Mahatma Gandhi and wrote an appreciative biography of Gandhi.In 1950 Dr Jones provided funds for India’s first Christian psychiatric center, and clinic currently known as Nur Manzil Psychiatric Center and Medical Unit at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
In 1946, with the help of friends in USA, he donated the first loud speaker setup to the Maramon Convention. He is also the founder of the Sat Tal Christian Ashram movement, Nainital, Uttarakhand,. He died January 25, 1973 in his beloved India.
In the 1920s, India began to develop greater appreciation for its own history and culture and greater pride in its own unique contributions to world civilization. Stanley Jones was one of the very first to realize the possibilities that this change in India’s intellectual and spiritual culture created for Christianity and especially for Western Christian missionaries. But he could not fully understand the astounding scope and depth of the possibilities without experiencing the history and culture of his adopted country for himself. So, what better way to immerse himself in the ethos of India than to visit Indian ashrams?
This is exactly what he did. In 1923 he spent two months at Santiniketan, the ashram of the world-famous poet, Rabindranath Tagore. Three years later in 1926 he visited Gandhi’s ashram at Sabarmati.
It is no exaggeration to say that Jones’ visits to these ashrams changed the course of his life. In fact, in 1930, he established his own ashram as a spiritual retreat for Christians modeled on his experience with Ashrams in India. But this was only the first of hundreds of Christian ashrams that would eventually be established throughout the world. These ashrams are truly the work of the Holy Spirit as they continue to inspire, refresh, and renew thousands of Christians in many nations today.
~ From “Ordinary Man, Extraordinary Mission: The Life and Work fo E. Stanley Jones” by Stephen A. Graham
27 November, 1984: Thomas Mar Athanasius Suffragan Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church passes away (b.26 May 1914). Bishop Thomas was born on 26 May, 1914, to the Panampunna family,Kottayam, Kerala. He was a scholar and continued his studies to the end of his days. He was known for his deep devotion and great ability to build up the Church. In 1953, he became bishop, and in 1978, he was designated as Suffragan Metropolitan.
He attended the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches at Amsterdam in 1948, and also the Assembly at New Delhi in 1961. He was a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches since 1961. Thus he made significant contributions to the cause of ecumenism.
He has attended many other international conferences in the Churches and was a delegate to the Melbourne Conference where he had made a distinct contribution as a leader of Bible Study.
He also attended the sessions of the second Vatican Council on special invitation.
His sudden death on 27 November, 1984, was severe shock to the whole Church and to the ecumenical world.
5 October, 1836: Malayalam Year 1012 Kanni 19: Members of the Mar Thoma Maramon Parish used to celebrate the festival of “Muthappan” every year.
Muthappan was a wooden idol in the shape of a human, made in memory of a foreign Bishop who came to Kerala in AD 1685. Offerings and prayers were conducted in front of this idol. The people of Maramon believed that the cause of all their prosperity and blessings was because of this semi-god, Muthappan.
Large crowds used to attend this yearly festival, which was a good source of income for the Maramon Parish. On 4th October 1836, the day before ‘Muthappan Festival’, the reformer of the Mar Thoma Church, Abraham Malpan threw “Muthappan” into the well situated in the Church compound and put an end to this festival forever, starting the reformation process.
27 September, 1976: Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan Passes away. (b.7 Aug.1893) .Dr Juhanon Mar Thoma was the Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church from 1947 to 1976. He provided the Church with the emblem having the motto: “Lighted to Lighten”. This has been appreciated by many leaders of Christian churches.
“Ecumenism was a reality for him; he restored peace with the Indian Orthodox Church. He actively participated in ecumenical councils such as the World Council of Churches. In 1948, he led the delegation to the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam. At its second meeting at Evanston, Illinois in 1954 he was elected as one of the presidents of WCC. During the third Assembly in New Delhi in 1961 he was the chairman and guided the deliberations with distinction.
It was in 1974, it was decided enter into full communion with the Churches of South India, North India and with various provinces in the Anglican communion.” ~ wikipedia.com
On 26 June 1975 the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi declared Emergency. Juhanon Mar Thoma was the only Christian leader in India who raised a voice and sent a letter to the Prime Minister arguing for the restoration of democracy.
4 September, 1847: Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) writes the Hymn “Abide with me” (Malayalam – Koode paarkka neram vaikkunnitha, No.8 (7) in Kristheeya Keerththanagal). Lyte wrote this hymn at the end of his life, just two months before he died. The text for this Hymn was taken from Luke’s Gospel Ch.24 v. 29 “Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent”.
18 March, 1985: Death of Rev. Dr. C. E. Abraham, Cheruthottathil, Kozhencherry (b.7 Jan.1898).
Rev. Dr. C. E. Abraham was a member of the Cheruthottathill family in Kozhencherry. He was ordained as deacon in 1920 and priest in 1930. He served as Professor/Principal of the Serampore Theological College from 1925-1959. In addition to that he also served as the General Secretary of the Mar Thoma Yuvajana Sakhyam and Evangelistic Association.
Rev. Abraham also served as a visiting professor for many foreign universities around the world. He wrote many books including “Church History” and “Builders of Indian Churches”. He was the Editor of the First Mar Thoma Church Directory. Rev. Abraham will be remembered as one of the most learned and farsighted priests of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church.